USA: ASD Celebrates APA Heritage Month

ASD Celebrates APA Heritage Month

Aviation Supply Department (ASD) celebrated Asian-Pacific American (APA) Heritage month at Naval Air Station North Island Friday, May 31st.

Sailors and civilians celebrated by recalling history, performing dances, playing live music and eating food from the Asian-Pacific region.

“May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869,” said Lt. j.g. Kiera Jaybush, ASD officer. “The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.”

Five women from the University of California, San Diego’s Chinese Dance Association performed three traditional Chinese dances in customary dress. Their ongoing goal is to enrich the community with Asian culture through the art of dance. The first was a wayward dance traditionally performed in Northwest China. A single dancer performed the second dance, which originated from Southwest China. Four dancers performed the final dance, which was a handkerchief dance.

“It gives others an opportunity to learn history about other cultures,” said Chief Warrant Officer Maurice Anderson assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing U.S. Pacific Fleet (HSMWINGPAC). “Putting together a program like this is certainly a great opportunity to see and learn and experience different cultures.”

A number of sailors volunteered to dress up in Hawaiian floral clothing while donning colorful leis and danced to live music. The dancers surprised the audience members by bringing them on stage to dance. Two men played ukuleles and another, wearing a luau straw hat, strummed the guitar.

Food from all over the region was represented, including chicken adobo, fried rice, pancit, or Filipino noodles, and a number of sweet desserts. The centerpiece of the meal was a whole-roasted pig.

Sailors came away with a renewed gratitude for the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the Navy, along with an appreciation of the rich culture from the region.

“Today we’re paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success,” said Jaybush.

Press Release, June 4, 2013; Image: US Navy